Popping the Big Question: Will You... Give Me a Raise?
Nobody is in a job for the sake of leaving the comfort of home every morning and for spending 8-9 hours a day away from the people they love and want to spend time with. Some may do it as a contribution to society and there are also those who love what they do (what is wrong with these people? Kidding!). But most of us do it for the money. Therefore, the salary you negotiate at the beginning, the lower pay you accept solely with the purpose of getting the job, is expected to increase.
So, we asked a couple of managers about some of the contexts in which they gave raises to their employees. Their names and positions in the company are not relevant. Only know that they have the power to increase someone’s salary.
Managers’ Take on Giving a Raise
“I understand how money talk makes people feel uncomfortable. They come in asking for more money because they need to pay rent, their kids’ stuff, groceries, necessities. And you cannot have good employees if everyone around you is scraping to make ends meet. Yet, they put more strain on the request than it is necessary. They will take my answer as a validation of their character, not of their job performance, and this is always annoying.
This is a place of business and my job as manager is to make sure that there is a good distribution of resources. This also includes money. I will do my best to redirect more funds to keep on the employees who are valuable. But you need to make me feel like we are talking numbers and that I am not going to have a type of conversation in which I decide that you deserve the raise because life is hard and unfair.”
Manager 1: Talk numbers, not feelings
Manager 2: Raises are fair compensation for MORE WORK
“Unless you work for slave drivers, all managers will adjust their basic salaries to the current economy. Therefore, if you are a mediocre employee, hired to do a specific job, strictly or even less than specified in the job description, then your salary will only increase when the company makes an effort to increase ALL salaries. If you want something more you need to do more.
Think about it this way. As a manager, you divide the tasks so that that low salary, as it is perceived, is justified by the job requirements: no higher education, no special training, no special skills required, and fixed hours. If you stick to the specifics, you get what the company considers the job is worth. No more. If you at least do something extra, anything extra then you can come in and talk about a raise.
“My company has this policy of only giving out raises when people specifically ask for them. Nothing comes from management. Yet, this is nothing made public to the employees. Unfair, I know! But it is not my company, nor my rule. Anyway, I was so annoyed with the fact that I’ve had the kind of mooch employees come up to me at just the right time when the company could afford to give raises, and valuable employees who could not have chosen a worse time for their discussion. I can always say no to the mooches as long as I think they do not deserve a raise, even though I have the money. But I cannot make money out of thin air when valuable employees ask for a raise at the wrong time.”
Manager 3: There is such a thing as the right time
Manager 4: I would love to have a decent talk with people. Instead, I get a practiced threat
“I know that in relation with the employees, the manager is always the bearer of bad news, even though many of the decisions are not really up to him. Being the face of the company tends to dehumanize you (and there are some people in such positions who do a great job at dehumanizing themselves). But I would still appreciate a discussion, with calmly laid down arguments and constructive opinions about the workplace. Instead, I get a practiced, semi-aggressive speech. I often ask myself what Internet websites do they get these things from. I once had the exact same speech shrieked at me in the same week. I guess they shared the link to the article and learnt it by heart. Neither of them got the raise.”